It is so nice to be able to write a race report again. It has been a year and a half since I ran a race. While I wasn’t training for a race today, I ran it anyway. We were driving through a town in Tennessee (looking for a house to live in) and we saw a small sign advertising a 5K. Though one day before the race is usually too late to register, I still looked it up online. This was the first year for the race and therefore they allowed race-day registration.
I showed up at 8:00 for registration with a race start scheduled for 9:00. Other than the workers, there was only one other runner hanging around the registration table. Though we were not supposed to get a shirt after a certain registration date, the registration lady still had about 100 shirts in boxes to give out. There was no problem with offering shirts to late registrants. This was a good indication that I might be able to win my age group. They said they would give out prizes for first place in each group.
Because I had an hour before the race started I went to the top of the mountain of Panther Creek State Park, where we were running the race, and enjoyed the scenic overview of the lake for a few minutes.
I warmed up as usual and headed to the starting line. There were only about 25 runners. From what I gathered, most of them signed up the morning of the race. There was even one man who came to the park for a normal run and saw that there was a race being held. Just a few minutes before the race started he jogged up to the starting line and joined us after registering.
The course was pretty hilly. I expected that since I had run at this park before. I was not familiar with the particular trails that we ran on. I had to do my share of walking on some of the uphill sections. This was my first time to run a trail race. I have always loved running trails, but all my previous races have been on roads.
Within about 5 minutes of the start we spread out to our own little groupings. I never passed anyone else and no one passed me after that first few minutes. In fact, after about 8 minutes I didn’t even see any other runners for the rest of the run.
I finished in 30:16. That is a slow time for a 5K for me. I don’t know if the distance was accurate. But I took solace in the fact that the first place runner had a time in the 25 minute range. It was a tough run for everyone.
A meal was provided after the race. It was hot dogs with chili and hamburgers. There were no condiments. I thought it was a terrible meal to have after a 9:00 race. We were supposed to be interested in lunch at 9:45 in the morning? I would have rather had fruit or something with a potato salad. The lady mentioned that they thought about salads as a meal, but since it was going to be hot today they thought the salads would not go over well. I would take a salad any day over a chili dog immediately after a race.
I liked the laid-back atmosphere of the small race, but was very disappointed with one change. The race registration form said they would give a prize to the first place winner in each age group. Since there were so few people, they decided to only give a prize to the first and second place men’s winners and the first place ladies’ winner. That meant everyone over the age of 25 had no chance of winning any prize. This was not announced until after the race was over. It should not have mattered that there were few people at the event. If they were prepared to give away 10 prizes it doesn’t make a difference if there are 20 people or 200 people at the race. It would still be 10 prizes given away that did not cost the organizers anything. The 3 prizes they did give away were all donated items. I assume the other prizes were donated as well.
There was talk that the race was really under promoted. I wouldn’t know anything about that since I have only been in town a couple of days. However, if they want to make this race a success next year they need to make sure they promote it more heavily and not bungle the prize decision next time. I don’t know if I would have won my age group, but I never even got a chance to find out.
I am glad for the chance to have run a race, but I would really have liked a chance to see if I could have won my age group.